Very Stunning original painting from Katta Billups
TITLE: Bob Dylan Studies the Fall of Pride at Studio 54 in New York City
(painting based on Dylan's song Foot of Pride)
Very Fragile frame be part of the artwork . insurance and
ARTIST'S DESCRIPTION OF THIS PAINTING: This painting is my homage to one of Dylan's songs entitled Foot of Pride in which he lists certain characters, events, and their ultimate downfall due to pride. I chose the carnival atmosphere of Studio 54 in the 1970's as the setting for my painting. The stories surrounding the legendary nightclub describe sugar bowls full of cocaine on every table, condoms in the bleachers, and a continual atmosphere of the carnival house of mirrors: with people there to see and be seen.
Arguably the main character in my painting is Bob Dylan (who perches on top of a zebra skin covered chair on the far right). He smiles as he watches the circus side show. Dylan kicks off his song with the phrase "Like the lion tears the flesh off of a man
So can a woman who passes herself off as a male".
So I painted a he/she character in a cage.
In another section of his song, Dylan alludes to the perversions among the churches-"Yeah, from the stage they'll be tryin' to get water outta rocks
A whore will pass the hat, collect a hundred grand and say thanks
They like to take all this money from sin, build big universities to study in
Sing "Amazing Grace" all the way to the Swiss banks"
so I painted a nun in a habit exposing her breasts.
I also portrayed some of the Studio 54 regulars throughout the painting. John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol, Al Pacino, etc. Andy Warhol is seated at a table with a transvestite eating out of a shoe, Jagger is dancing on the table, Jerry Hall is with an unidentified stranger, John and Yoko stand to the left of Jagger, Al Pacino stands glassy eyed over Dylan's shoulder, and Elizabeth Taylor is seated with Mrs. Ford and Diana Vreeland. The old adage is that pride is that state of mind which caused the former angel of light himself to fall. I have alluded to this element by the Icarus character in the foreground. My Icarus wears a plaid shirt and is lying face down on the floor wearing wings. I have left it up to the observer to decide if this Icarus character is just another Studio 54 character in a costume, or a visual metaphor.
The title of Dylan's song, like every aspect of his work is lyrical mystery. In this case, perhaps the title and the song itself serve as a warning not to trip over our own feet? FOOT OF PRIDE.
KATA's FAMOUS COLLECTORS
My list of Famous Rock and Roll and Music Industry Collectors, Famous Motion Picture Industry Collectors and other Famous Individual Collectors continues to grow.
This list shows the Collector's name and (in some cases) the Title of the piece they own and where they found my work.
Trudie and Sting - were given my work in about 1996 by a former account manager for the legendary Studio 54 in New York City. The woman who purchased the work for a gift to STING and Trudie was a personal friend of theirs and they gave me permission to use their names in my press- as long as BOTH names are used.
Julia Roberts - purchased prints of my work for herself and for her co-star Dennis Quaid. This was around 1995 at a gallery in the Beaufort area named THE RED PIANO TOO. This gallery was near the set location for a film that Julia and Dennis co-stared in named "Something to Talk About". The piece she bought for herself is entitled "Elvis Dreaming of Love" and her gift to Dennis is entitled "Elvis Was a Leg Man". Julia told the store owner that she bought very little art for her home in New Mexico. Julia only purchased my art work from this gallery. The store owner told me she had also admired a print of my piece entitled "the Four Keys to Elvis Success". It is a folk art inspired piece showing four vignettes of Elvis' life and career. In the first one- Elvis is peeling potatoes for his Mama which is key number one-: (Love Your Mama). Julia Roberts sent me and the gallery owner a long personal Thank You note. She is the most friendly and kind celebrity I have been in contact with.
Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins - Susan purchased two large Primary Original pieces of my work around 1991 from a non-profit gallery in Memphis. Susan was in Memphis visiting her former husband on the location of one of his films. The titles of the two pieces she purchased are "I Saw Elvis Watching Elvis Impersonators at the County Fair" and "I Saw Elvis Selling Velvet Pictures from a V.W. Van in a Lot" She also visited a local shop in Memphis called EDDIE WORLD and purchased about eight to ten of my smaller framed prints as gifts for her friends. Susan only purchased my work in both venues. Susan is one of favorite film stars. In a major magazine article she was asked who her heroes were and she cited Jesus Christ as one.
Carry Elwes - purchased my work from a gallery in the Denver area around 1995. I have forgotten the name and location of the gallery. When I locate it- I will add the name in. I think it was called "Fish Head Soup" and has gone out of business.
Jimmy Vaughn - purchased my work from a shop in Memphis named EDDIE WORLD (mentioned above) which was operated by the artist and musician Lamar Sorrento and the artist and writer Suzie Millions.
Jimmy Buffet - purchased my work after seeing it in a gallery on St. Helena's Island (near Beaufort S.C.) named THE RED PIANO TOO (mentioned above). He sent his closest associate to my home to negotiate the purchase of my work. Through her, he bought three Primary Original paintings. The first was a large piece for his home entitled "I Saw Elvis at the Krispee Kreem", the second was a painting for his daughter (about Janis Joplin) entitled "There's No Mercedes or Color T.V.'s in Heaven" and thirdly, he commissioned a very large piece about Elvis entitled "Elvis Impersonators Waiting in line for the Head with Jimmy". This piece currently hangs in a bar Jimmy owns in Key West.
R.E.M. - Each member of the band was given a Replica Original painting of mine in 1996 by their booking manager, Peter Conlon.
Peter Conlon -(R.E.M.'s booking manager) was given my work by a talent developer on Music Row in Nashville.
Trisha Yearwood - was given my work by an executive who represented her on Music Row in Nashville.
Bob Doyle -(Garth Brook's manager) purchased my work from a gallery in Nashville.
Ratso (Larry) Sloman - (Bob Dylan's long time friend who Dustin Hoffman's character is based upon in the film "Midnight Cowboy") purchased a framed print of my piece entitled "The Famous and True Story of When Andy Gave Bob a Painting and Bob Traded it for a Couch" in a gallery in the South East. He called me to say it had been stolen on his plane back to N.Y.C. I sent him a free replacement and we became phone friends. During that time he asked me to donate a painting for Howard Stern's 40th birthday bash In N.Y.C.. I responded by asking if he could take up a collection to purchase my work. I explained that I feel an artist giving his or her work away is unethical. Unfortunately, he did not see it that way. The Wallflowers were beginning to have some of their songs go to the Billboard top 40 and they played the event.
Leon and Geri Gast -Leon Directed the award winning documentary film about Muhammad Ali entitled "When We Were Kings", and Geri was an executive in a fortune 500 company in N.Y.C.. They purchased a large Primary Original painting entitled "Shelter From the Storm" and a smaller Primary Original painting with Elvis boxing against Ali.
Janis Ian - was given my work by a Music executive in Los Angeles.
Willie Nelson -was given my work by the previously mentioned Peter Conlon.
The William J. Clinton Presidential Library - had my piece entitled "Elvis Presents a Bill Before Congress" donated to the library by a Gallery named "America Oh Yes!". The donor stipulated that the piece be displayed on the ground floor and not only in Clinton's private office (where only he and his secretaries would see it.) This was following the Monica Lewinski scandal.
a member of The Mavericks -purchased my Primary Original painting entitled "I Saw Elvis at the Mc Donnalds" directly from me around 1990.
Tim Burton -(the original Director of the Batman Movies) purchased my work from a gallery near Beaufort, S.C.
Randy Quaid - purchased my work from a show in a famous Coffee Shop and Theater in Nashville called "Bongo Java".
After selling my work to THOUSANDS of collectors across the USA and Europe for years via different galleries and venues I started a new venture in 2004 when I began my eBay Gallery.
Since then - I've sold over FOUR HUNDRED and FIFTY pieces to Patrons across the world through eBay.
I have Patrons in Paris France, Toronto Canada, Greece, Ireland, Australia, Chile and EVERY State in the U.S.A.
Many Private Collections and Museums across the world also own my work.
Artist lets Jesus,
Elvis do the talking
She uses paintings to explore issues of society
By Ashley Barron
Elvis has been sighted everywhere from a nightclub in New Orleans to a coffee shop in Seattle, but artist Kata Billups is getting a lot of attention for her paintings showing him in even more bizarre settings.
And no, they're not on black velvet.
Elvis storms the Playboy mansion and frees the Bunnies; Elvis convinces Liberace to give all his possessions to the poor.
"Elvis is like my spokesman, but each piece is autobiographical," the 45-year-old Winthrop University graduate student said. "My actors, Kata's spokespeople, can comment on what we're all feeling as a society."
A 1979 graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, Billups began doing Elvis art about 12 years ago, while living in Nashville, Tenn. Her work has gotten attention nationally, even internationally.
"Baby boomers are from the rock generation. We've been promised by Madison Avenue a lot of things. We're not getting the happiness and love (we expected). We're bored, not satisfied Elvis plugs in, in so many ways to these deep things."
The daughter of " two dysfunctional social worker parents," Billups said her childhood made her look at life and society critically. "I see the juxtaposition and quirkiness of the fact that my parents were social workers but were awful at the parent thing, although they were great people."
Billups' works use Elvis, as well as other rock 'n' and roll icons such as Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Mick Jagger, to investigate the human condition. Her paintings look at issues such as vulnerability, pride and aging. In " Elvis Felt Compelled to Put on the Blue Footy Pajamas His Mama Gave Him," an older, heavier Elvis struggles for security before performing with Rolling Stones members Ron Wood and Keith Richards.
Billups' works are in the collections of actors and musicians, including Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Jon Bon Jovi and Tim Burton confirmed by gallery owner. Prices range from $30 and up for a small, embellished print to several thousand for a large original painting.
Daniel Brant, owner of London's A.&.D Gallery, has sold some of Billups' work and is looking forward to having an exhibit featuring her paintings.
"It's the sort of thing that any member of the public can look at it and get it, but as you recognize the quality and satire of her work, you can look at it for years and see more in it," Brant said.
"There are elements of folk art and untrained art, although she's highly trained and has those abilities as well."
Jesus is the actor in Billups' latest works, which she's creating for her graduate program exhibit. Billups said she became a Christian "out of desperation" as a young teen.
"A lot of Christian artists are afraid to tamper with him. They don't want to consider him emotionally. I'm investigating a 21st-century picture of Jesus, but breaking some of the canon rules for that imagery, but for necessary reasons. I think they're actually holding people back from knowing what he was really like."
Billups depicts Jesus Christ bewildered by present-day life. In one pair of paintings, Jesus is a deliveryman, because the only way he can get into a home is by bringing material goods.
"I've been in the closet, using Elvis but wanting to use Jesus," Billups said. "I was already touching on some of the social ills."
Freelancing in Charleston since about 1980, Billups painted murals on restaurant walls and paintings both on commission and for sale on the Internet and in galleries. She spent five years in Nashville, Tenn., married to a songwriter, then returned to Charleston after getting divorced.
She met and participated in a show with Howard Finster, who she said made her realize she didn't need to fret about perfect realism in her art.
"(Folk artists) unlimited me. They focused on content, the personal parts of their lives."
Her art has been exhibited in France and featured in Rock & Folk (the European equivalent of Rolling Stone magazine) and Preservation Magazine, and she has drawn illustrations for the Washington Post Magazine.
Billups decided to come to Winthrop University to pursue a master's degree after being rejected by major art programs in the Northeast.
"New Christian work would have been shut down and challenged (in the larger schools)," said Billups. "It's reverse prejudice. It's politically incorrect to be Christian." Now she feels Winthrop is the right place for her. "The art professors are so dedicated and so good."
Billups has completed the first year of her master's program, and will spend two more years creating her Jesus-themed art.
"The greatest artists stood out because they so badly needed to express things that weren't being seen,
and they had to invent a new way to see them...
"I'm just asking the question. As a social satirist, I get to make fun of (society) and if I couldn't make fun of it, I'd just cry."